Grampians region unemployment falls to 10-year low

UNEMPLOYMENT rates in the Grampians region have fallen to a 10-year low.

The most recent Department of Employment estimates show the region’s unemployment rate is 3.9 per cent.

New Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show Victoria’s unemployment rate is 6.4 per cent.

The Grampians employment region takes in most of the Wimmera with boundaries of Patchewollock and Tempy in the north, St Arnaud and Emu in the east, Bellfield and Tarrayoukyan in the south and the South Australian border.

Wimmera Development Association executive director Jo Bourke said low unemployment rates were due to diminishing youth populations.

“It is in part young people moving away for education and training,” she said.

“I think it’s also because of the work that the schools do with a range of organisations such as the Wimmera Southern Mallee Local Learning and Employment Network supporting at-risk youth into employment.”

ABS statistics show statewide seasonally adjusted youth unemployment rates were 12.5 per cent during March.

Mrs Bourke said the region was experiencing skill shortages in the health and agricultural sectors, which led to many jobs being re-advertised.

“You just have to look at Friday’s Mail-Times to see the range of jobs being advertised,’’ she said.

“There are apprenticeships, entry level jobs, skilled technical type jobs as well as professional jobs that businesses are having trouble filling.” 

She said low unemployment rates made the Wimmera attractive for people looking to move.

“It’s very positive to have low unemployment because it gives you the opportunity to attract new people,” she said.

The figures are in line with an overall boost to regional employment in Victoria.

Treasurer Michael O’Brien said the upward trend for regional Victoria was positive.

“In the year to March, 48,700 regional jobs were created across Australia and more than 60 per cent of those jobs were in regional Victoria,” he said.

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